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Like a watch that decorates the wrist, a good jacket is the finishing touch to any outfit, especially when crisp fall weather makes an appearance. Whether you're looking for a wool coat to keep you snug as temps dip, a puffer to dress up some joggers, or a lightweight option for easy layering, there's always an occasion to sport a jacket this season. The thing is, the market is overflowing with options, which can make just about anyone's head spin. Brown Puffer Jacket
For many, jackets are an investment piece — but how do you know you've landed on a winner? When shopping for a jacket this season, Holly Katz, fashion stylist and host of Fashion Crimes Podcast, recommends taking into account the Cost Per Wear (or CPW) above any other deciding factor, including fabric. After all, buying a jacket that you know you'll get the most use out of (versus something you buy on a whim) is the ultimate goal.
We combed through various retailers and put together an exhaustive list of the best fall jackets to don this season. The one that's leading the pack? The Mud Pie Highland Plaid Shacket, a versatile option that comes in various colors and provides the perfect amount of warmth on brisk days.
Below, find the best fall jackets of the season.
What We Love: The oversized fit is comfortable, roomy, and allows for flexible movement.
What We Don’t Love: On super cold or rainy days, it may not keep you warm.
Mud Pie's Highland Plaid Shacket is a prime example of why we love shackets (a.k.a shirt-jacket hybrids). This pick offers the warmth of a jacket (without the use of heavy fabrics that would otherwise weigh it down) along with the versatility and wearability of a shirt. It's the perfect piece to throw on with jeans and a white tee if you're headed to the pumpkin patch, but looks equally as stylish paired with a faux leather skirt and ankle booties for an evening spent outdoors. It comes in three colors — black, blue, and pink — and features roomy balloon sleeves for an oversized fit that feels airy, never restricting. We love that the material isn't itchy, along with the fact that it features two chest pockets for knick-knacks you'd rather not have floating around in your handbag (read: extra hair ties, toothpicks, and breath mints).
Size: S-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: | Style: Shacket
What We Love: There's so much to love about this blazer, but our favorite quality is that it can be paired with the matching trousers for an eye-catching ensemble.
What We Don’t Love: We appreciate that this goes up to size 16, but it would be nice to see it designed in petite and plus sizes as well.
The problem: finding an under-$100 blazer that doesn't skimp on quality. The solution? Showpo's Jaxine Storm Flap Blazer. Available in sizes 0 to 16, this blazer provides a tailored fit, and is a step up from traditional jackets of this style thanks to its all-around storm flap and wide peak lapels. Three shades are available, including a striking cobalt blue that'll certainly make you the talk of the office.. The best part: you can wear it with the matching Jaxine Tailored Wide Leg Trousers for a trendy co-ord look that's fit for your workwear wardrobe and beyond.
Size: 0-16 | Colors: 3 | Material: Polyester, spandex | Style: Blazer
What We Love: At just under $80, this jacket is well worth the money as it's reversible (sherpa on one side, water-repellent shell on the other).
What We Don’t Love: This is personal preference, but we'd like to see this offered in a cozy brown or beige shade.
Jackets can be a big investment, but they don't always have to be. As is the case with this thoughtfully-designed convertible jacket from Love Bonito which comes in black and cream. It's lined (so provides plenty of warmth) and costs less than $100 — a steal considering it's reversible and can be styled in a multitude of ways. Wear the plush sherpa side to stay warm at a backyard bonfire, or flip it inside out if it's raining to reap its sturdy, water-repellent functionality. It offers the most bang for your buck since you can wear it two ways, and serves as the ultimate chilly-weather jacket without the bulk. Simply put: It'll definitely earn front seat-status in your closet.
Size: XS-XL | Colors: 2 | Material: Polyester, sherpa | Style: Water-repellent
What We Love: The drawstring hood on this bomber jacket protects your head from low and strong winds alike.
What We Don’t Love: We wish the hoodie were removable for more styling versatility.
This oversized bomber from the ASOS Petite collection has a lot to offer. For one, it's spacious without making you look boxy, something not many jackets are able to do successfully. If you're into hoodies but want something a bit more polished, this one definitely fits the bill as it's made out of canvas (which conveniently makes it easier to wash). It's also designed with a functional drawstring hood that keeps your head warm and hair protected. Into layering? The elastic hem makes the jacket easy to pair with sweaters and cardigans. Plus, the snap closure on the pockets ensures nothing will slip out.
Size: 00-12 | Colors: 1 | Material: Canvas | Style: Bomber
What We Love: This sherpa jacket contours at the sides, giving it a casual, shirt-like feel.
What We Don’t Love: If you don't want an oversized look, go for a smaller size as this runs large.
Whether you wear it to lounge around the house or to run out for coffee, this multi-purpose jacket combines two revered fall styles (shacket and sherpa) for a comfortable, warm everyday piece. We love the buttons on the cuffs (which offers full closure when it's cold out), as well as the generously-sized pockets that provide extra storage. Model and entrepreneur Ella Halikas says the lightweight factor also makes this piece ideal for layering (and for giving other parts of your outfit the spotlight — over-the-knee boots, anyone?). While this jacket isn't the cheapest sherpa on the market, you'll definitely get a lot of use out of it. Plus, the four neutral shades you're forced to choose between (or not, if you choose to buy multiple ) go with everything.
The sizing on this jacket can be a bit finicky — rather than single sizes, the Sherpa Shacket comes in double sizes (like S/M, L/XL, and 2XL/3XL). For a true-to-size fit size down, and for an oversized fit go for your normal size.
Size: XXS-5XL | Colors: 4 | Material: Sherpa | Style: Shacket
What We Love: This jacket comes in a range of sizes from XS to 2XL.
What We Don’t Love: A longer length is something that would add to this hoodie's cool factor.
When you want to stay protected from the elements but don't want the weight of a puffer jacket or trench, go for this pick from Dickies. Even though it's light as a feather, it keeps you feeling extra warm thanks to well thought-out features like a full zipper and drawstring hood. As for how it performs in the rain, the Durable Water Repellent nylon it's made out of allows raindrops to roll off, making it ideal for breezy walks or hikes in the rain. Not to mention, the back of the jacket is slightly longer than the front (what's known as a drop tail) to further keep you dry. We'd be remiss to leave out the impressive size range, as well as the under-$100 price that makes us want to get one in every color.
Size: XS-2XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Durable Water Repellent (DWR) nylon | Style: Rain jacket
What We Love: This jacket is sustainably-made with certified organic cotton, which will make you feel good about your purchase.
What We Don’t Love: Even though you can feel the quality, the price isn't attainable for all budgets.
The Riley Windbreaker from Able Made is domestically-made and features rain-friendly nylon along with certified organic cotton — we wouldn't expect anything less from a brand that uses 100% fruit fibers to construct its vegan bags and upcycled cotton for its snug socks. Aside from its sustainability, this piece has a lot going for it, including a fully adjustable waistband, hefty dual pockets, and a tailored fit that's easy to move around in. The woven heart-shaped soccer ball logo on the lower front sleeve (an ode to the brand's soccer heritage) is also a nice touch.
Size: S-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Cotton, nylon | Style: Windbreaker
What We Love: There are size options for regular, petite, and tall, making it easy to find your perfect fit.
What We Don’t Love: The one request we have with this jacket is more colors.
Not as long as an overcoat but not as dressy as a trench, this utility jacket from Gap is an everyday piece that checks all the boxes. If you're not into exposed buttons, zippers, and snaps on your outerwear, you'll appreciate the jacket's streamlined look — there's a full-length zipper with snaps as well as four utility pockets with snaps, but you'd never know it since they're all all hidden. The result: a more minimalistic appearance that doesn't take away from the jacket's sophistication. This is also a great transitional piece that'll take you from fall to spring, making that $100 price point worth it if you plan on using it for multiple seasons.
Size: XXS-XXL | Colors: 1 | Material: Cotton, elastane | Style: Utility
What We Love: This jacket's under-$50 price point is our favorite feature.
What We Don’t Love: The pockets on this aren't functional, so you may want to throw on a pair of mittens if it's super cold out.
What's fluffy, stylish, and won't break the bank? This shearling jacket from H&M. Teddy jackets like this one work with just about any look, but because they have so much volume, it's important to nail your fit (Katz says to make sure you're able to close the jacket with ease and that the jacket doesn't hang below the waist). We're huge fans of the shorter cut of this piece, especially considering that cropped versions of materials that tend to be heavier (like shearling) are a great way to stay warm without feeling like you're drowning in your coat, says Halikas.
Size: XXS-XL | Colors: 1 | Material: Faux shearling | Style: Cropped
What We Love: If you're looking for a lightweight leather jacket that's easily layerable, this one fits the bill.
What We Don’t Love: Nothing, this jacket is perfect!
Moto jacket, but make it sophisticated. If we had a crystal ball, we'd predict this beauty will accompany you throughout several fall and winter seasons — that's all thanks to its ultra-soft feel, belted waist, and zippers galore (including on the sleeves) that add to its edgy appeal. We appreciate that the slim fit is true to size without feeling too tight, as well as how the jacket modernizes a classic wardrobe essential by making the zipper slightly off-centered. For a more effortless, model-off-duty look, drape it over your shoulders — it'll definitely be the focal point of any ensemble.
Size: XS-XL | Colors: 2 | Material: Leather | Style: Motorcycle
What We Love: Need a break from your go-to black leather jacket? This one comes in three other colors (in addition to black) for a unique twist.
What We Don’t Love: For a polyester jacket, the price point is a tad high.
A black leather jacket offers timeless appeal, but if you're craving something different, BuddyLove has you hooked up with baby blue, red, and white shades to choose from. Made of vegan leather, this jacket boasts a relaxed fit that makes it easy to throw (or drape) onto anything. But what really makes it a show-stopping stunner is the all-around rhinestone fringe detailing on the wingspan and back — perfect for adding some sparkle to your fall concert or festival outfit.
Size: S-XL | Colors: 4 | Material: Polyester | Style: Motorcycle
What We Love: Despite being a longer coat, this is easy to pack and travel with.
What We Don’t Love: This runs a bit large — size down if you're not into the oversized look.
The ReNew Long Liner from Everlane is packed with a laundry list of features we love, including a two-way zipper (for easy access to your pants pockets), a layerable fit (when you need to bundle up on extra chilly days), and a crew neckline that adds to its modern appeal. It's only available in two shades — green and balck — but the quilted military-inspired design makes up for it. It's also surprisingly lightweight given its knee-length cut, and is great for providing warmth if you live in (or are traveling to) a colder climate. (PS: if sustainability is important to you, you'll appreciate that this piece is made out of recycled plastic bottles.)
Size: XXS-XL | Colors: 2 | Material: Recycled polyester | Style: Trench
What We Love: The cinched bottom is adjustable and the cropped style makes this a lightweight option.
What We Don’t Love: We wish it came with a detachable hood.
Alo Yoga is a cult-favorite brand that's dominated the athleisure market — and the hype is well-deserved. Not only are the styles versatile, but they're the perfect mix of trendy and timeless. At $200, this puffer could be considered an investment piece for some, but it’s built to survive crisp fall mornings and harsh winters for years to come. It's incredibly warm and comfortable, and the interior zippers are helpful for keeping things like tissues and your car keys secure. Pair it with some cozy joggers as you step out for your midday coffee, or on top of your workout set to keep you cozy before breaking a sweat.
Though this puffer is made of Durable Water Repellent nylon, it doesn't come with a hood so it may not be the best option if you're dealing with torrential downpour (though you can layer a thin hoodie underneath for added warmth and protection).
Size: XS-L | Colors: 3 | Material: Durable Water Repellent nylon | Style: Puffer
What We Love: The oversized fit is subtle — not overpowering — and can still be worn with layers underneath.
What We Don’t Love: Unfortunately, you can't throw this in the wash — it's recommended to dry clean it as needed.
It's classy, durable, and sleek — everything we want our fall jacket to be. The boiled wool will keep your core warm without causing you to overheat, and the material itself isn't itchy (a major plus). It's also oversized in all the right ways, and won't overpower your figure if you're petite. With two colors and seven size options to choose from, it's easy to see why this top-rated pick will earn a permanent spot in your wardrobe.
Size: XXS-XXL | Colors: 2 | Material: Wool | Style: Sweater jacket
How heavy or lightweight a jacket is plays a major role in how often you'll wear it. As costume designer Dajia Milan says, consider all of your daily activities before making a purchase. For instance, if you're an active person, try opting for something more lightweight and breathable so as not to feel constricted. In other cases, a lightweight jacket may not be as important if it's serving the purpose of keeping you warm, notes Milan.
The material of your jacket will also play a role in how heavy it is. "Certain fabrics such as polyester, cotton, nylon, or any of these blended together are known to be more lightweight," says Katz.
And remember, the more layers a jacket has, the more likely it is to keep you warm, but the heavier it'll be, Katz tells InStyle. "Heavier jackets will almost always include a lining, down feathers or imitation down, or a hood or outer layers for style instead of function — in any case, extra fabric always means extra weight," says Katz.
Fall jackets come in many different fabrics, the common ones being wool, cotton, leather, puffer, and cashmere. Choosing the right material is all about personal preference as well as the level of warmth you're seeking. For example, full-length wool coats are ideal for moderately low temperatures that are above freezing, says Katz. Though wool jackets tend to be on the pricier side, they're a great transitional piece that can be worn casually with sweats or dressed up with a suit or dress for the evening, says Milan.
As for cotton jackets, they come in many forms — cropped, in a bright or neutral hue, or as a duster or cardigan. This is the perfect material to layer with, according to Halikas, and though it won't keep you super warm, it works nicely if you're wearing something more insulated underneath, says Milan.
If it's freezing outside, reach for a puffer. "Puffer jackets can be filled with down or imitation down fabric (also known as synthetic fill, which is similar in feel to an outdoor sleeping bag)," explains Katz. "The thickness of the down determines the level of warmth you'll get." Remember: If you're going to be out in the snow or rain, make sure the cuffs are tighter around the wrist to keep the elements out, she adds.
Looking for something that'll always be on trend? Go for leather. There are several genuine and vegan leather options on the market, and this material is incredibly versatile: It looks good when it's brand new and as it's broken down with wear and age, says Milan.
Finally, for the coziest fabric out there, cashmere is a great option. It has natural lightweight fibers and is significantly warmer and softer than wool (which is also why it often comes at a higher price tag), notes Katz. "If you can’t spend the money on a full cashmere jacket, a wool-cashmere blend gives you the best of both worlds.
Certain materials such as nylon and polyester are naturally water-resistant due to how tightly woven the fabric is. That being said, they're not fully waterproof, so if you do need your jacket to function when it rains or snows, look for one that has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Aptly named, when this coating comes into contact with water, it causes the droplets to bead up and roll off, thus keeping you dry.
Fall jackets are incredibly versatile. "I love to throw on a cotton jacket over my workout set on the way to the gym, or a leather jacket on top of a bodysuit for an evening look," says Halikas. If you're donning cashmere, try wearing a puffer or full-length trench on top (especially if it's raining, as cashmere doesn't absorb water and can become heavier when wet, notes Katz). For more warmth, Milan recommends wearing a cashmere sweater under a cotton jacket to lock in the warmth.
Fit is dependent on so many factors, including material and the look you're going for. "I always say that with leather you should always buy the size you typically wear and avoid going oversized, as leather stretches out over time and can become too heavy if worn in a larger size," Milan.
For teddy coats, Milan points out that they're already big and puffy, so there's no need to shop for a larger size. On the flip side, if you want a more tailored or structured fit to your jacket, make sure that there's enough space to wear a thick sweater underneath without it feeling snug and pinched under your arms, notes Milan.
For plus size shoppers, Halikas says to avoid getting wrapped up in the size you're buying. "My size fluctuates all the time depending what store I'm at, so it's better to focus on what makes you feel the most confident," she says.
Some telltale signs of an incorrect fit, according to Katz: if you hug yourself with your jacket on and you can't move your arms, if you can't close the jacket, if the armhole is too high, if you can't raise your arms, and if you can't sit without it bunching.
Fitted Quilted Jacket Michelle Rostamian is a freelance beauty, wellness, and lifestyle writer with nearly 10 years of experience in the beauty industry and bylines at PEOPLE, Byrdie, Real Simple, InStyle, and more. She interviewed experts and tested jackets herself for this story.